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Texas Matters: Climate change is right here, right now

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For decades scientists warned Texas leaders that the state will be one of the hardest hit by human-generated global warming and we are seeing that now.

There is an intense and prolonged drought and heat wave baking the state. Crops are failing, ranchers are selling off their herds, water resources are drying up and the grid’s capacity is being tested.

We could be in a vicious cycle: the burning of fossil fuel generates electricity, but it is also heating the planet and creating more demand for electricity. That cycle could easily be broken by bringing more green clean energy online, including solar and wind. However, that common sense transition is being slowed by the political power that the fossil fuel industry has in Texas. It’s going to take a political uprising to demand more clean power — not only because it will address climate change but it will bring more jobs and money to Texans, particularly in rural parts of the state.

Joshua Rhodes explains what's needed for a transition to a green grid. He is a research associate at the Webber Energy Group/Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.

Cattle Sell Off

The drought and high heat is especially challenging to agriculture and beef producers in Texas. A YouTube video shows a 3-mile long line of trailers from ranchers in East Texas bringing their cattle to market. It was on the Shepherdess YouTube channel. The Shepherdess is Grace Leaks and she’s based out of Hopkins County in East Texas.

Homeless in the heat

In the searing North Texas heat, staying outside too long can be dangerous. For those with no choice, it’s even riskier. KERA’s Bill Zeeble tagged along with a faith-based group dedicated to helping those without a home.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi